Croatia, Adria and Montenegro in merger proposalThe Minister of Maritime Affairs, Transport and Infrastructure in the Croatian government, Siniša Hajdaš-Dončić, has announced the possibility of merging Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways and Montenegro Airlines into a holding company. Speaking to the media over the weekend, Hajdaš-Dončić said that the situation within Croatia Airlines is tough but that some problems will be resolved once the new CEO and Board are named. However, the minister notes that if the new management fails solve the national carrier’s problems a merger between some of the airlines of the former Yugoslavia could be the key.
The minister suggests for Croatia Airlines, Adria Airways and Montenegro Airlines to form a multinational holding company, similar to International Airlines Group, which has been created by British Airways and Spain’s Iberia. Hajdaš-Dončić emphasises that within this holding, Croatia Airlines would be the dominant carrier and would initially exclude Jat Airways from the arrangement. Both Croatia Airlines and Adria are members of Star Alliance. The announcement comes days before all the airlines of the former Yugoslavia, with the exception of B&H Airlines, sit down for talks in Budva over the weekend.
Reacting to the announcement from Croatia, Adria Airways said, “We know nothing about it. There have been no such talks”. Croatia Airlines and the Slovenian national carrier already cooperate on fleet exchanges. Croatia Airlines is currently using an Adria Airbus jet for its weekend flights to Istanbul. The idea to merge the national airlines of the former Yugoslavia came earlier in the year from the Association of European Airlines which warned that the carriers will go bust if they don’t put their difference aside and cooperate. All of the national airlines in the EX-YU region ended 2011 with multi million euro losses. As it stands now, 2012 is not looking any better.